Lin Dunn Q&A

Lin Dunn
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Lin Dunn is in her fourth season as an assistant coach with the Indiana Fever. Before joining the Fever, Dunn served as both the head coach and general manager of the Seattle Storm, where she led the team from day one as an expansion franchise in the summer of 1999 to its first playoff appearance in 2002. Prior to coaching professional basketball, Dunn compiled a 447-257 record in 25 seasons as a college head coach. She first joined the Fever as a scout in 2003 and was hired as an assistant by Brian Winters.'s Brian Martin spoke with Dunn to discuss her role on the Fever coaching staff and the evolution of women's basketball in her 37 years in the game.

Q: Can you talk a little about your experience in the league and coming to Indiana as an assistant after all of the experience that you have had?

Dunn: Itís been a wonderful opportunity for me to work with the management with the Indiana Fever; first class all the way around, facilities, people, everything.

Iíve really enjoyed working with Brian Winters and getting a little more of an understanding of the NBA philosophy, so thatís been a real good experience for me.

Iíve already had some assistant coaching experiences with USA Basketball. I was an assistant coach for the Olympics, assistant coach for the World Championship games, so it wasnít anything new for me to go from being a head coach to being an assistant. I kind of enjoy it; itís a different kind of pressure

Q: What are some of the benefits of being the assistant rather than the head coach?

Dunn: Itís challenging, itís hard work, but itís a different kind of pressure. I have input in a lot of areas, and I give my ideas and thoughts but at the end of the day itís the head coachís job to make the final call. So itís just a different type of pressure Iím pressured to do the job really well with the assignments that I have, but itís a little bit different than being where the buck stops right on his plate.

I enjoy being an assistant. I love the scouting part. I feel as an assistant I can interact in a different way with the players versus when I was the head coach, I felt like I was the disciplinarian. I was kind of the bad cop and I feel like as an assistant I can be the good cop all the time.

Q: With the experience you have, does Coach Winters lean on you a lot?

Dunn: Yes. I think one thing heís done real well is delegate the defensive responsibility to me, to give him input on our defensive system, work with our post players. I feel like based on my experience as well as Julie Plankís experience, heís really given us a lot of responsibility. And thatís one thing I like about being in Indiana, I really feel like I have input.

Q: Your first affiliation with the Fever was as a scout, correct?

Dunn: After I left Seattle I had some knee surgery and I went back to Tennessee to live with my mom and kind of take care of her. I was missing the game so I had a talk with [former Fever head coach] Nell Fortner and [GM] Kelly [Krauskopf] about doing some scouting and that led to being an assistant, which is good because I love being in Indy.

Q: Can you talk about the time youíve spent around womenís basketball, the growth of the game, and the state of the game now?

Dunn: I guess you can call me a pre-Title IX woman in that I started my first head coaching job in 1970, so I know what itís like not to have the resources that we have now. Iíve been involved in the sport in some form or fashion for 37 years and loved every minute of it. Iíve loved seeing the growth of the game and in particular the professional game because I think the professional game has had a tremendous impact on the college game.

When the players reached their senior year, it used to be over for them. And now as they are going into their senior year, they are thinking about playing professionally and I think that further motivates.

I think it continues to motivate players when they are sophomores, juniors and seniors. I remember coaching before there was professional basketball for women, even in Europe, before there was anything to do overseas, and that senior year was just kind of the end so you just finished it out versus now all during your senior year youíre thinking ďHow can I get better? How can I get better? How can I go to the next level?Ē So I think thatís really helped the college game because those players as seniors are continuing to prepare and get better for the next level. I also think itís a motivator for the young girls, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 year olds; the little kiddies are playing kiddie basketball thinking about being in the WNBA and not just playing in college so I think itís been great for the game.